Where to Find Help During the Coronavirus

Local School Meal Programs

At this time, it’s important that we do what we can to take care of each other while still following the guidelines and recommendations of our healthcare professionals.

Many Maine children depend on school-based meals. Many schools in Maine will be continuing free lunch programs in some form. This will vary from one school district to another.

If you have information about a school lunch program in your area that is available to help people in need at this time, please share the details however you can so the word gets out.

Contact your local school or school district to learn more about these programs.

Small Business Emergency Loans

The Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.

You can learn more about the program by clicking here.

“Keep America Connected Pledge”

Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular, Sprint, Spectrum and Comcast are among the companies that have signed the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” The aim is to ensure that consumers don’t lose their broadband or telephone connectivity during this period of uncertainty because they can’t pay.

Companies taking the pledge must agree, over the next 60 days, to not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills because of the coronavirus pandemic, waive late fees because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus and open company Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Internet Connections

T-Mobile and charter Spectrum are offering help getting connected, especially students and schools.

Both T-Mobile and Charter/Spectrum are offering ways for customers and students to connect to the Internet over the next 60 days, with offers like higher data usage at low or no cost, free international calling, free hotspot/tethering and more.

If you are not currently a Spectrum customer but have a K-12 or college student in your home, Spectrum will provide free broadband and Wi-Fi service for the next 60 days.

To learn more about these offers, click here: T-Mobile or Charter/Spectrum.

Electric Bills

Maine law requires CMP and Emera Maine to ask for commission approval to shut off electric service during the winter disconnect period, which currently runs through April 15.

Central Maine Power Company has asked to extend that period due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Emera Maine has taken a similar posture. “We can set up payment plans, see if customers are eligible for low-income assistance or a debt forgiveness program, and make referrals to other services. Since we remain in the winter heating season, we are not disconnecting residential customers for nonpayment.”

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